Region B-R00007 – Constellation B-C00057
22 September YC 123
I have finished scanning the last signature in the system – it turned out to be another wormhole – and cheered.
“What are you so happy about?” asked Aura. “This is the second system that we have tried to explore today and it is as empty as the first one – no relic sites, no data sites, no nothing!”
“You are wrong – it’s not a second system, it’s fiftieth. And this is exactly why I am so happy.”
Aura frowned, “Fiftieth from what?”
“From the start of Stubborn Dwarf doctrine testing. Which means that the testing is over and it’s time to crunch the numbers and write a post on corporate forums.”
“Good luck with that. Have you got a calculator on board?”
“Well, I hoped that you would help me with the crunching part. Or was the calculation function squeezed out to fit in the cheeky AI module?”
Aura stuck her nose up in the air, “I am a navigator. My functions are optimised to solve complex systems of equations required to fly a ship through a warp tunnel, not to do ‘rithmetic.”
“Equations? Lemme see. Can you solve this one: Z = X / Y?”
Aura looked suspiciously at the formula that I typed on HUD. “If you want a finite number of solutions, then you have to introduce some conditions on those variables.”
“How about this: X = 10 and Y = 2?”
Aura made a grimace, “This is a primitive equation. If you can’t solve it yourself then let me inform you that it has only one solution where Z is equal to 5.”
“Awesome! If you can solve this one then surely you can calculate some averages for me. Or shall I ask Allison?”
Aura bristled, “Of course, I can! Give me the data set and the desired metrics.”
I provided the requested information and started writing the post.
After testing my first exploration doctrine, Cowardly Buzzard, I felt like doing something completely opposite. I didn’t want to hide, I didn’t want to run – I just wanted to hack those Guristas, Sansha and Blood Raiders containers without worrying about the D-scan. If I did it in the same ship as before, the doctrine would probably be called Stupid Buzzard. Such name would be fair but offensive. And I didn’t want to lose my ship to every passing Astero (or even Heron) and then amuse Mor Dovorot with tales of my stupidity, pleading for a replacement frigate. No, if I had to stand my ground I would fly something more sturdy, more bitey, something like… a Corax!
Now, Corax hardly qualifies as an exploration ship. It doesn’t have scanning bonuses, it doesn’t have hacking bonuses, it can’t fit a CovOps cloak… And if you fit all that scanning and hacking equipment you’ll sacrifice slots which make you sturdy and bitey. What do you do? My answer is “horses for courses”. All that covert scanning stuff could be done in a proper exploration frigate, but when it comes to hacking, when you drop the cloak and play a sitting duck for every hunter, that’s when you want a Corax. It doesn’t need a probe launcher, because everything was scanned and bookmarked by the CovOps frigate; it doesn’t need CovOps cloak because you can’t use it while hacking; but it does need an analyser. And that was the only slot that I was ready to sacrifice in what otherwise was a proper combat fit.
Here is how it all worked. Firstly, I based my operations in Thera. My first priority was Thera scanning for which I used a regular Buzzard which had only scanning equipment. If I was lucky to find a wormhole to a suitable system (C1, C2, C3, C13) I would immediately explore that system for pirate relic and data sites. Otherwise, I would travel through wormholes already mapped by other Signaleers. In any case, my range of operation was limited to two jumps from Thera.
Once all sites of interest were scanned and bookmarked, I would return to Thera HQ, jump into the Corax and fly to the destination system. There I would deploy a mobile depot at a safe spot and start hacking the sites. I would start with relic sites and then move to data sites. For each site I would
– establish an on-grid perch from which I could warp to every container;
– hack all containers in the decreasing order of difficulty (which didn’t always represent a decreasing order of profitability), warping between the perch and the containers;
– return to the mobile depot to offload the loot.
I also used the mobile depot to replace a relic analyser with data analyser if there were both types of sites in the system. When all sites were hacked, I would scoop the mobile depot and return to Thera.
The main difference in my tactics compared to Cowardly Buzzard doctrine was that while I was hacking I hardly ever looked at D-scan and focused all my attention on the hacking screen. This worked well because without hacking bonuses I could not afford to make any mistakes. Concentrating on hacking helped me find the best solution using only virus coherence and strength provided by T2 analysers. In fact, at 168 data and relic sites I failed to hack only two containers.
Now, you may ask why I didn’t use a combination of Blackglass implant and an integrated analyser which would make hacking a breeze. The answer is cost. I was ready to stand my ground and die if I was attacked but what I would lose with my fit would be at most 15 million ISK, including implants. With Blackglass and Zeugma, the losses would run into hundreds of millions.
Talking about the fit, here is what I used for hacking.[Corax, Stubborn Dwarf from Thera] Relic Analyzer II Data Analyzer II x1 Mobile Depot
“Hey, wait a moment,” Aura interrupted my writing, “and what about all that sturdy and bitey stuff, like…”
“Shh!” said I. “The thing is, I never had to use it, so for this particular experiment it is irrelevant and will remain OpSec until I am popped.”
“Hmm… Actually, I am surprised we weren’t.”
I was surprised too. Imagine this – I was in the Corax without a cloak, in full view of every ship equipped with a D-scanner. I saw probes on D-scan, I continued hacking; I saw Astero on D-scan, I continued hacking; I saw Ares on D-scan… still hacking. And with all that activity going on in the system, I was never dropped on. I am quite sure that other ships visited the same sites as I but they never tried to attack me. For example, there was a rich system with six relic sites and an Astero on D-scan. After cleaning out the first three sites, I found that the remaining three disappeared. As there was only an Astero I assume that it was the one who hacked those sites, and I also assume that it visited the system which I was hacking and quietly left. My theory is that all other ships avoided the Corax because it was either too tough for them or they thought it was a bait. What would you think if you saw a Corax in a wormhole?
“Aura, I am about to write the conclusion section for which I need the stats. Are they ready?”
“Pfft! They were ready before you finished typing the first word of the forum post. Here you go,” replied Aura.
“Thank you, darling. I always knew I could rely on you…”
Aura looked smug.
“…to instigate a storm in a teacup,” finished I with a smirk, and continued writing the post.
This doctrine produced better results than Cowardly Buzzard. While an average profit per system for the latter was 11 million ISK, Stubborn Dwarf’s yield was 24 million ISK per system. Here are the detailed stats for both doctrines.
Metric Stubborn Dwarf Cowardly Buzzard Average value of extracted loot per system, ISK,of which 23,856,600 11,000,000
- data site loot
- relic site loot
16,838,600 7,400,000 Average losses (ship and loot) per system, ISK 0 0 % of systems skipped or abandoned after detecting activity 0 38 Average number of relic sites looted per system 0.82 0.4 Average number of data sites looted per system 0.78 0.4 Number of ships lost 0 0 Number of attackers destroyed 0 0 Number of times I have been dropped on 0 1
This doctrine, the way I used it, was quite limited in its application – I was based in Thera and explored only systems which were connected to it by no more than two wormholes. However, given the Corax’s big cargo hold, one could carry a mobile depot and all required scanning and hacking equipment, and travel through Anoikis in any direction. If anyone ever tries it, I will be curious to hear about such experience.
“So, what do you think?” I asked Aura.
She looked critically at the post, scrolled it up and down with a pained expression, and finally said, “The table looks good.”